What is Low-Code Rapid Application Development

Low-code software development enables the delivery of faster application speeds with minimal involvement of hand-coding. Developers can skip all the infrastructure and patterns during re-implementation through visual modeling in a graphical interface to assemble and configure applications. This removes 90% of data that isn’t needed and allows the developer to focus directly on the 10% of the application that is unique.

Think of a car assembly plant for a moment. The machines involved in the automation process do not decide on the looks of the cars but instead, they accelerate the assembly and delivery process. This is kind of what low-code does.

Low-code does to software, what assembly lines do for the auto industry: they both automate difficult and time-consuming manual tasks, allowing people the freedom to refocus their efforts on other tasks that are more important and complex. In short, it allows them to focus on solving the business problem vs. technology hurdles (performance, security, scalability, bugs, platform support, mobile, etc.).

Instead of traditional coding, drag-and-drop features with simple if-then logic in addition to preconfigured modules are used to create low-code applications. While customization can still be programmed, the primary use of low-code development allows users to quickly build custom applications with minimal coding required.

Low-code as a package set of tools.

Low-code is a family of tools. The tools are used to create complete applications via the drag-and-drop interface. A typical low-code development platform will look like the following:

  • Visual IDE: This is the environment used to visually define the UIs, workflows, rules and data models design for the application to be built. Where necessary, hand-written code may be included.
  • Connectors are used for various back-ends or services: They automatically handle data structures, storage and retrievals.
  • Lifecycle Application Manager: These are the automated tools used to build, deploy/debug and control the stability of the application during testing (Pre-flight simulation & error reporting), staging (pre-prod manual testing), and production deployment (automated DB migration scripts).

Aside from the basics mentioned above, no two low-code tools are identical.

Benefits of using Low-code.

Whether creating the application itself or easing the dev process for coders, business users can build much easier with greater flexibility to have specific tasks completed quicker. Let’s look at a few benefits of low-code development:

 

Agility is Improved: If we looked long-term, apps built using low-code platforms will help companies to become more agile. Using visual design rather than coding has the potential to speed development exponentially. Additionally, building apps will be faster by combining less coding and automated testing.

 

Decrease in costs: Having the ability to build more apps in a fraction of the time normally used, will obviously affect costs as there will be a significant decrease. Low-code development will require fewer developers, and create fewer bugs, hence requiring less QA resources as well.  Ultimately reducing the costs of resources associated with the team. The collateral effect of using low-code platforms will make all employees in the organization more productive, not just the IT team.

 

Productivity increase:  More apps built in less than benchmarked time is a positive effect on productivity. Months of work can be completed instead within days, if not minutes for some code. Time is less of a barrier now to innovation.

 

CX (customer experience) improvement: Using low-code development impacts more than the IT LoB. If we look at the downstream effects of speed increases, we see better customer experiences. Organizations will be able to adapt rapidly to any market changes or new customer needs.

 

Risk management, Governance, and compliance: Keeping up with changing regulations, some affecting companies globally, and the sheer enormity of these tasks makes it difficult to accomplish. Low-code development is designed to keep up with global changes and meet requirements quickly to stay ahead of any deadlines.

 

Easily respond to change: Using low-code development, things like changing apps for example, adapting them to suit needs, become quite easy to do. Without the requirement to get into complex coding, low-code development can facilitate immediate change when called for since any new resource can visually see the requirements fulfilled within the app vs. having to understand and update complex code developed by someone else.

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In short, low-code allows them to focus on solving the business problem vs. technology hurdles (performance, security, scalability, bugs, platform support, mobile, etc.).

Low-code use cases

Customer engagement: Enterprise-grade apps can be built for various business tasks. These can be from customer-facing applications to handling complex business processes for more effective and bespoke customer engagements.

 

Operational efficiency and optimization: Applications can be created to increase efficiencies in specific operations. These applications would provide benefits along the lines of reducing costs and risk of error through automation.

 

Business processes: Defining workflows and building processes of any complexity for tasks to automate operations in one line of business (LoB) or across a series of LoBs.

 

UI, Data modeling and business logic: Used in web applications and mobile devices where defined and configured data models, business logic and / or UI is needed.

 

AI Solutions: Applications would be built using AI and ML algorithms to effectively process information data, minimizing manual operations while accelerating efficiency.

Final thoughts

Low-code software development is an excellent choice to provide non-programmers the ability to design and build a variety of quality-driven software ranging from basic utility apps to full-on enterprise-grade systems.

Ultimately, low-code is a solution designed to give programmers more time to get more done. Programmers will spend less time on repetitive and non-value-added work.

When used to its fullest potential, low-code software development is an exciting option for anyone requiring custom software but lack the necessary time to deliver the necessary functional & non-functional needs, or the budget to build the necessary programming and QA team (enterprise architect, front-end dev, back-end dev, DB administrator, system integrator, security tester, load tester, scalability tester, etc.

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